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Drug

Propranolol

Pronounced

"pro-PRAN-oh-lol"

Uses

This medication is a beta blocker used to treat high blood pressure. Lowering high blood pressure helps prevent strokes, heart attacks and kidney problems.

This drug works by blocking the action of certain natural chemicals in your body (such as epinephrine) that affect the heart and blood vessels. This results in a lowering of heart rate, blood pressure, and strain on the heart.

Warning

Do not stop using this drug without first consulting your doctor. Your condition may become worse when the drug is suddenly stopped, especially if you have chest pain (angina) or heart disease (e.g., coronary artery disease, ischemic heart disease, high blood pressure). If your doctor decides you should no longer use this drug, you must gradually decrease your dose according to your doctor's instructions.

When gradually stopping this medication, it is recommended that you temporarily limit physical activity to decrease strain on the heart. Seek immediate medical attention if you develop: worsening chest pain, tightness/pressure in the chest, chest pain spreading to the jaw/neck/arm, unusual sweating, trouble breathing, or fast/irregular heartbeat.

Other Uses

This section contains uses of this drug that are not listed in the approved professional labeling for the drug but that may be prescribed by your health care professional. Use this drug for a condition that is listed in this section only if it has been so prescribed by your health care professional.

Propranolol has also been used for irregular heartbeats, shaking (tremors), and to control symptoms of anxiety or overactive thyroid (hyperthyroidism). It has been used after a heart attack to improve survival.

This drug may also be used to reduce the risk of chest pain (angina) or migraine headaches. It should not be used to treat chest pain or migraines when they occur. Use other medications (such as nitroglycerin tablets placed under the tongue for chest pain, sumatriptan for migraines) to relieve sudden attacks as directed by your doctor. Consult your doctor or pharmacist for details.

How to Use This Medication

See also Warning section.

Take this medication by mouth as directed by your doctor, usually once daily at bedtime. Swallow the capsules whole. Do not crush or chew the capsules. You may take this medication with or without food, but it is important to choose one way and take this medication the same way with every dose.

The dosage is based on your medical condition and response to treatment.

Use this medication regularly to get the most benefit from it. To help you remember, take it at the same time each day. It is important to continue taking this medication even if you feel well. Most people with high blood pressure do not feel sick.

It may take 1 to 2 weeks before you get the full benefit of this drug.

If you also take certain drugs to lower your cholesterol (bile acid-binding resins such as cholestyramine or colestipol), take propranolol at least 1 hour before or at least 4 hours after these medications.

Tell your doctor if your condition worsens (e.g., your routine blood pressure readings increase).

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Information expires December 2020.